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Pills Stuck In Throat?
Jan 17, 2007

Hi there. I'm not sure whether or not this is the right forum but here goes. This is going to sound like a truly mad question but I often feel that after taking my pills they feel as though they are 'stuck' in my throat. I always eat something afterwards if I get this feeling and certainly by the morning the sensation of being stuck has gone. It usually happens about once a week. My main concern is that i understand my meds (kivexa and sustiva) are on some kind of timed release. Would they still work even if they were stuck in the throat or do they need to get to the stomach to work? I'm 90% sure that the pills do get to the stomach but sometimes this 'stuck'sensation causes me significant anxiety because i often wonder if this can be counted as non adherence? I realise this sounds like a stupid question but given the importance placed on adherence I think its important to know whether or not a pill can actually get stuck in the throat and not work. Many thanks

Response from Dr. Henry

Many of the HIV medications are rather large and so many patients get a sensation of the pills sticking in the throast. Sometimes there is a narrowing or other abnormality in the throat/esophagus which contributes to that sensation and which may need some form of intervention. As long as the pills are not actually being thrown up the contents are usually ultimately reasonably well absorbed and remain active against HIV. If pills fragments are being thrown up or passing through the stool then I would be more concerned. Blood levels can be checked for many key HIV medications to check on the absorption. I often refer patients to ENT and/or GI to evaluate swallowing problems when they are a nuisance for patients. KH

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